Retail technology and software provider CDK Global said it has started to restore systems used by over 15,000 car dealerships across North America, after multiple cyberattacks hit the company.

The software company was forced to shutter access to its core product, known as the dealer management system, which allows car dealers to facilitate trade-ins, arrange auto loans and register new vehicles. 

The car dealerships affected have gone days without access to this crucial software, after CDK Global shut down all its systems on Wednesday (19 June).

Bloomberg previously reported that a group of hackers had claimed responsibility for the attack and demanded millions of dollars in ransom. 

According to the report, CDK Global was planning to pay the ransom to get its software systems back online.

Leading car companies including Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Volkswagen confirmed they were working with dealerships affected by the outage.

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CDK has not yet commented on the identity of the hackers but said they are in touch with law enforcement and experts. 

Andrew Lintell, general manager, EMEA at cybersecurity company Claroty, told Verdict that the cyberattack on CDK shows the absolute necessity for “robust supply chain security”.

“Car dealerships hold lots of valuable data, especially considerable financial information, making them a prime target for cybercriminals to try to gain access to and exploit security gaps to steal sensitive data,” Lintell said.

“Proactivity through comprehensive risk assessments, stringent access controls, and continuous monitoring, is key,” he added.

In 2022, CDK was bought by investment firm Brookfield Business Partners for $6.41bn. Until then, CDK remained the last publicly traded provider of software to car dealers.